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Methane emissions. Image from NASA, Scientific Visualization Studio.

Climate Change

Methane Cuts Possible, & Necessary

Aggressive action to slash methane pollution could slow global warming by as much as 30%, new research shows. The study, in press at the journal Environmental Research Letters, comes ahead of a UN report to be released next week that will call for “urgent steps [to] be taken to reduce methane emissions this decade.” Ilissa Ocko, senior climate scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund and a lead author of the study, told the Washington Post that “people talk about net zero in 2050, but what the temperature will be in 2050 will be determined by what we do now.”

Methane, the main component in so-called natural gas, is an extremely potent heat-trapping greenhouse gas. A full-scale effort to implement existing technologies to cut methane pollution could have a significant impact on efforts to avoid the most extreme impacts of climate change, the study says. “There’s no chance whatsoever to meet our climate targets if we don’t deal with the methane emissions that [the UN] report highlights,” Jonathan Banks, international director for methane at the non-profit Clean Air Task Force, told Reuters.

US Senate Restores Obama-Era Methane Emissions

The Senate voted yesterday to reinstate Obama-era safeguards designed to limit methane pollution for oil and gas fields via the Congressional Review Act. The Trump administration’s pre-election effort to undo regulations including leak protection requirements were seen as so extreme the gas industry worried they would undermine its messaging efforts to portray the methane-based fossil fuel as a clean alternative. The House is expected to pass a similar resolution, and as Dan Grossman of EDF told the New York Times, “once the president signs it, this will be the first move by Congress and this administration to actually put climate policy back on the books.”

Sources: APNew York Times $; Climate Nexus backgrounder: Gas,Washington Post $; UN report: New York Times $, Reuters; Both: Earther

Courtesy of Nexus Media. Edited by CleanTechnica in response to news on Senate vote.

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